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AJR
AJR (band) on VOA.png
From right to left: Adam, Jack and Ryan Met
Background information
Origin Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Genres
Years active 2005–present
Labels
  • AJR Productions
  • S-Curve Records
  • Liberator
  • Warner Bros.
  • BMG
  • Black Butter
Members
  • Adam Met
  • Jack Met
  • Ryan Met

AJR is an American indie pop trio composed of multi-instrumentalist brothers Adam, Jack, and Ryan Met. The band writes, produces, and mixes their material in the living room of their apartment in New York City. Their most successful songs include "I'm Ready", "Burn the House Down", "Weak", and "Bang!". In 2019, their third album Neotheater debuted at number 8 on the Billboard 200, and hit number one on the Top Rock Albums chart.

The name "AJR" comes from the first initials of the three brothers, Adam, Jack, and Ryan. Their musical style has been described as "eclectic," combining elements of pop, doo-wop, electronic, and dubstep.

History

2005–2013: Formation and debut album

The Met brothers (born Metzger) initially began writing, producing, and mixing their own material in the living room of their Chelsea apartment in Manhattan, New York, focusing on DIY indie pop music. They began performing around 2006, busking in Central Park and Washington Square Park. Initially, Jack played the harmonica, Ryan played the piano, and Adam played the bass. They later began playing various instruments. They began by performing covers, and also put out a now removed 2010 EP.

In November 2012, AJR's Ryan Met tweeted a link to a video of their song "I'm Ready" to about 80 celebrities, including Australian singer Sia Furler. Furler told her manager about the song, and he contacted Steve Greenberg, former president of Columbia Records and current CEO and Founder of S-Curve Records. He acts as their co-manager. AJR's debut single, "I'm Ready", which features a sample of SpongeBob SquarePants repeatedly singing his catchphrase "I'm ready" from the eponymous animated series' premiere episode, was commercially released on August 22, 2013. The song was placed in regular rotation on Sirius XM Radio's Top 20 on 20 and Hits 1 stations, and they performed the song on Good Day New York and VH1's Big Morning Buzz. The official music video for "I'm Ready" premiered on VEVO on October 15, 2013.

AJR released their debut EP, 6foot1 (later renamed I'm Ready after the band signed to Warner Music Group), on December 20, 2013. They were named Clear Channel's "Artist on the Rise" for the month of October 2013. By 2014, the band was already named IHeartRadio's Artist of the Month for Top 40 in January, and a Myspace "One to Watch" in February, while "I'm Ready" officially impacted pop radio in April. There are now over 35 million YouTube views for "I'm Ready" as of February 2021. Many thousands of singles sold each week, features in Billboard and the New York Post, while climbing the Top 40 chart. "I'm Ready" hit number one on Next Big Sound's chart in May 2014. The band performed the song on Today on July 29, 2014. "I'm Ready" has been certified Platinum, in Canada and Platinum in Australia.

2014–2015: Infinity and Living Room

The band's second EP, Infinity, was released on September 23, 2014. It contains 5 tracks, including the lead single "Infinity". They released a lyric video for the single. A majority of the work for the video was done by AJR, including directing and producing. The EP was released instead of their debut album, Living Room, which was pushed back to a release date of March 3, 2015. The band expressed the delay in their debut album was because they wanted to add some of their newer music to the project. Around this time, the brothers began to take on distinctive appearances. Adam grew a full beard (later he would grow his hair long), Jack also grew a beard and would wear a bomber hat (which he admits is his mother's), and Ryan wore glasses, was clean shaven, and had a cowlick hairstyle.

2016–2018: The Click

The brothers released their third EP, titled What Everyone's Thinking, on September 16, 2016, which features the lead single "Weak". The lead single was written by the band in a day, within a few hours, without any idea of the future success the single would have. "Weak" had been certified Platinum in the U.S., Canada, Norway, Netherlands and Belgium, and Gold in Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Australia. It has over 500 million streams on Spotify.

The band released its second studio album, The Click, on June 9, 2017, featuring the singles "Weak", "Drama" and "Sober Up", which features frontman Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, who co-wrote the track. This song reached number one on the Mediabase Alternative Singles chart in 2018. The band's 2018 tour in support of the album, The Click Tour, featured Hundred Handed, Grizfolk, Ocean Park Standoff, and MAX as openers.

In 2017, AJR released "It's On Us," a single written in collaboration with the It's On Us campaign, which was launched by Barack Obama in 2014 to combat assault on college campuses across the United States.

An extended version of The Click was released on September 21, 2018. The Click (Deluxe) included new tracks such as "Role Models", "Normal" and "Burn the House Down", the latter which the band released in March 2018 as a single and reached number two on the Mediabase Alternative Singles chart. Also included was "Pretender - Acoustic", an acoustic version of "Pretender", which was a collaboration between AJR, EDM artist Steve Aoki and American rapper Lil Yachty.

2019: Neotheater

On January 30, 2019, AJR released "100 Bad Days", the first single for their then-unannounced album: Neotheater. A music video was released on March 8. The song was included on Taylor Swift's Apple Music playlist, "Playlist by ME!" in May 2019. The lyrics, "maybe a hundred bad days made a hundred good stories, a hundred good stories make me interesting at parties," are used in Taylor's description of this playlist of songs she loves and appreciates. On March 5, the band teased the second single, "Birthday Party." On March 11, the band announced their third studio album, Neotheater, which was to be released on April 26. "100 Bad Days", was performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on March 11. On March 11, the second single, "Birthday Party" was released. The third single, "Dear Winter," was teased on April 1, and released on April 5, with a music video being released later that same day. The album debuted on April 26 at number one on Billboard's Top Alternative Albums, number one on Billboard's Top Rock Albums, and number eight on Billboard's Top 200 Albums. On October 25, the group released "Dear Winter 2.0", re-imagining the song by "changing the production and upping the emotion".

2020–2021: OK Orchestra

On February 12, 2020, a new single, "Bang!", was released, with a music video the next day. A follow-up single was released on August 31, 2020, titled "Bummerland".

The band released "My Play" on December 22, 2020.

On December 20, 2020, AJR announced their fourth major-label studio album, OK Orchestra, after teasing it online, which is set to be released on March 26, 2021.

On February 17, 2021, a new single, "Way Less Sad", was released, with a music video on the same day

Tours and concerts

  • I'm Ready Tour (2014)
  • The Infinity Tour (2014)
  • Living Room Tour (2015)
  • What Everyone's Thinking Tour (2017)
  • What Everyone's Thinking Tour Part 2 (2017)
  • The Click Tour (2018)
  • The Click Tour Part 2 (2018)
  • Neotheater World Tour (2019)
  • Neotheater World Tour Part II (2020)(Cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • Everything Everywhere Tour (2020) (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • A Night In Your Car With AJR (2020)
  • One Spectacular Night (2020)

AJR has opened for Fifth Harmony, Lindsey Stirling, Hoodie Allen, Train, Fitz and the Tantrums, Andy Grammer, We the Kings, Demi Lovato, Ingrid Michaelson, Sammy Adams, American Authors, and Melanie Martinez.

Their Neotheater World Tour took the band to Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, Ireland, and Poland in November 2019. On November 13, 2019, the group announced the Neotheater World Tour Part 2. Dates were released on November 15.

COVID-19 alternate concerts

On May 14, 2020, the band announced the cancellation of their upcoming tours due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stating via Twitter that "it’s more important to us that [our fans] are safe".

On July 21, 2020, AJR announced their drive-in show "A night in your car with AJR" which took place on the 19th of August 2020 in Philadelphia. Two days later after the first show had sold out entirely, they announced a second show for Philadelphia for the 20th of August. This is also where they first sang their song Bummerland.

On November 19, 2020, AJR announced their first virtual concert, AJR's One Spectacular Night, which took place on December 26, 2020. It was interactive, with features such as allowing you to clap after songs, change the camera you're viewing through, along with other interactive features to both simulate a typical live concert and experiment with the benefits of livestreaming.

Band members

Core members

  • Adam Brett Met (born August 27, 1990) – vocals, bass guitar, programming, samples, percussion
  • Jack Evan Met (born August 16, 1997) – lead vocals, guitar, melodica, ukulele, drums, percussion, keyboards, synthesizers, samples, programming, cowbell
  • Ryan Joshua Met (born March 3, 1994) – vocals, programming, keyboards, ukulele, producing, samples

Auxiliary members

The following instrumentalists have toured and recorded with AJR:

Current

  • Chris Berry – drums, percussion
  • Arnetta Johnson – trumpet, keyboards

Former

  • JJ Kirkpatrick – trumpet, keyboards, percussion

Personal lives

The brothers have described themselves as "culturally Jewish". Their parents, Gary Metzger and Laurie Marvald are architects. They grew up in Bayside, Queens until moving to Chelsea, Manhattan in 2002. They attended the Professional Children's School in Manhattan. Jack was a child actor, appearing in The Pink Panther 2 as well as an episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Adam is a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham, while Ryan and Jack study at Columbia University.

Ryan has synesthesia and has said it helps him with his music production process, stating in a YouTube video:

"I see visuals when I'm hearing the music, and that very much helps when I'm building … and choosing the right drums."

The brothers also have a Bouvier dog named Shay.

Discography

  • Living Room (2015)
  • The Click (2017)
  • Neotheater (2019)
  • OK Orchestra (2021)

Awards and nominations

iHeartRadio Music Awards
Year Nominee Award Result
2019 AJR Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist Nominated

Teen Choice Awards

Year Nominee Award Result
2019 AJR Choice Rock Artist Nominated
2019 AJR Choice Rock Song: "100 Bad Days" Nominated
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